While it might be Week 6 in the English Premier League, it’s only the second time around the track here at Draft Kings. Lots of lessons to be learned from Week 1, changes to be made and money to be made. This weekend, we have a single slate on Saturday, minus the early game—which is a shame, since it’s the Liverpool derby. Seven games, clean and simple, you’ll know where you stand about 2:30pm Eastern. Again, be very in touch with the web in the hour before matches so your lineup has a full collection of starters
Let’s get going…
Chelsea v. Aston Villa, 10am: We have Chelsea, coming off what ended up being an incredibly frustrating and somewhat disappointing draw at Manchester City while Villa had those six minutes of terror at the Emirates, losing to Arsenal 3-0. It was reported after the match that Villa had a number of players out or hampered by a stomach virus that swept through the team—ouch. In hindsight, that personally would have been something I’d like to have known. And yet, time to move on.
Keep in mind this before you load up on Chelsea’s top dogs—they have a trip to Portugal, playing against Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday. I can see some squad rotation coming into play because after they drew at home against Schalke in Champions League play, and to a degree a result is needed. If you hold Jose Mourinho to his word, he can’t play Diego Costa ($11,200) in both games. If he starts in place of Costa, Loic Remy ($5,700) is an excellent option for the price tag.
In goal, Thibault Courtois ($5,000) is chalk, but you need a clean sheet to justify that price tag against other cheaper options. Branislav Ivanovic ($4,100) is a dependable option in defense, while if you want Eden Hazard ($8,300), again if he starts, you will need to pay up. Look for more value based options like Oscar ($5,000), Willian ($4,700) and especially Andre Schurrle ($4,700) if Mourinho goes with them from the start.
Villa? Look for a bounce back from their loss against Arsenal, but it’s hard to justify plays from the visitors at Stamford Bridge. Brad Guzan ($3,200) is a contrarian play to the extreme, but he should see a lot of action. It’ll take a strong stomach, but it has a high upside if things go well. Of course, the floor is in the negative points. Otherwise, guys like Gabriel Agbonlahor ($6,000) and Andreas Weimann ($4,200) are a bit too expensive to be punt plays.
Crystal Palace vs. Leicester City: This will be an interesting one to watch; there’s some value at Selhurst Park on both sides. Both teams are coming off big wins over favored opposition (Everton, Manchester United), having scored three and five goals respectively. But diving in with both feet could have its issues.
Both keepers (Julian Speroni, Kasper Schmeichel) are at $3k and could play off handsomely; it could also end up a 3-2 game. Even on the road, Leicester is the better play and the better team. Schmeichel will be in at least one of my lineups, but at first glance stacking him with a defender from Leicester is difficult. Wes Morgan ($2,000) is a minimum play, but is a central defender. It’s a clean sheet or bust, and outside backs Paul Konchesky ($2,900) and Ritchie De Laet ($3,400) simply have not known the ability to get forward so far this season—their points per game so far this season have been average at best. Palace’s Brede Hangeland ($2,000) is a punt play because of his height giving him chances on dead balls, but that’s about it. Martin Kelly ($2,900) is an interesting option as an attacking right back, but so far this season his average point output hasn’t been promising. An assist last weekend was pretty much
by accident, but Leicester gave Rafael a lot of space last weekend. However, Palace’s attack isn’t exactly the caliber of United’s.
The value comes in midfield and attack—Palace has Jason Puncheon ($4,500) and Yannick Bolasie ($4,800) as likely starters, and don’t sleep on Wilfred Zaha at $3,100 if included. Leicester has their strength DFS-wise in attack. But the price tags on Leonardo Ulloa ($7,200) and Jamie Vardy ($6,200) have risen after their shredding of United this past weekend. Palace’s options at a lone forward are the sub-$5k Marouane Chamakh ($4,900) and Frazier Campbell ($4,000)—good luck using either of those options, good sir/miss.
Hull City vs. Manchester City: This on paper should be a blowout, despite Manchester City being on the road at the KC Stadium. Joe Hart ($4,600) is cheaper than Courtois and is just as likely to get a win/clean sheet double. His opposite Allan McGregor is a minimum play at $3k, but his floor/ceiling is akin to Guzan. GPP play at best, looking at other options even better in my opinion.
Whomever City starts at outside back are excellent options in defense, despite their price tags. Alek Kolarov ($4,500), Pablo Zabaleta ($3,900) and Gael Clichy ($3,100) are excellent cash plays if included by Manuel Pellegrino from the start. City also play midweek in the Champions League, so Kolarov or Bacary Sagna ($2,800) might be the ones to go with. Whomever Pellegrino starts in central defense would be a nice stack with Hart as well, especially Eliaquim Mangala at a minimum salary.
I expect Pellegrino to rest a few names in midfield; Yaya Toure comes to mind. At $3,700, Frank Lampard could have an excellent day if he starts. Fernando, Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas ($4,200) are all solid options as well. The blue side of Manchester might have a lot of value this weekend. David Silva is a top option if given a start.
In attack, there could be value as well. I can’t see both Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko starting Saturday—especially since the latter started midweek in domestic cup play. And with Manchester City hosting Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday, Aguero might not either especially if he’s nursing an injury. But if he does, Aguero at $9,900 perhaps is the top option at forward this weekend. Stevan Jovetic ($6,400) also is an excellent call if he starts in all formats, especially in a light blue stack. If he starts, Dzeko at $8,300 is an option that screams play me as well.
There’s another team you say? Oh….Hull City. Their forwards Nikica Jelavic ($5,200) and Abel Hernandez ($3,700) could be flex options if you feel daring. I wouldn’t touch any defense or midfield option for the Tigers.
Manchester United vs. West Ham United: This could end up 0-0…but I really cannot see that happening. With injuries decimating the hosts in defense, I cannot see starting David de Gea ($4,000) in goal despite being on the favorites’ side and a lower price tag. And if I’m not starting de Gea, I’m definitely not going with Adrian for West Ham.
Defenders? Outside of Rafael ($4,200), there is not a near certain play on either side. Marcos Rojo will likely start in a central role with several out injured. If he starts, Luke Shaw is a minimum price start for United at an outside back. But he isn’t likely to play a full game and even with all the injuries, he isn’t a certain starter. Check your lineups and all. West Ham don’t have an attacking outside back, really—it’s almost four central defenders across the back. Don’t expect a lot of points via crosses—in true Sam
Allardyce fashion, it’s Route 1 for a great deal of 90 minutes. I’ll wait while some of you Google Route 1 soccer/football.
In midfield, Angel Di Maria ($10,700) is as chalk as you get. Even at that salary and the likely kicking West Ham will give the Argentine, he should pay off the price tag to affirm his high ownership rates. Fade at your risk and all. And while Ander Herrera ($5,200) will be outsized by West Ham, he should see a lot of play in the hosts’ midfield. Keep an eye on Louis van Gaal’s starting lineup, however—with the injuries in defense, Daley Blind could play in defense while others get the start. Juan Mata ($7,500) is on the expensive side of things and must start in order to include him in your team, while Adnan Januzaj ($3,900) amongst others are potential value plays.
Stuart Downing ($7,000) is worth your attention for West Ham. He’s averaged 14 points a game, and United was killed down the wings last weekend by Leicester. Downing could take clear advantage. At forward, you can pay up for a United trio of Wayne Rooney ($10,200), Robin van Persie ($8,900) and Radamel Falcao ($8,200). But value is waiting, either separately or in some combination, of West Ham’s Diafra Sakho ($5,900), Mauro Zarate ($6,100) and Enner Valencia ($6,800). All may not start, however, if Allardyce goes defensive in his lineup.
Southampton vs. QPR: The hosts should be a very widely used stack this weekend. They’ve won five in a row, including wins over Swansea City last weekend (1-0) and Arsenal midweek (2-1) in cup play. A lot of high percentage owned results will be seen for goalkeeper Fraser Forster ($4,300), outside backs Ryan Bertrand ($4,000) and Nathaniel Clyne ($4,100), midfielders Dusan Tadic ($6,700) and Morgan Schneiderlin ($5,900) and forward Graziano Pelle ($7,300). Add around that Southampton collection with $17,700 left for two spots—and that’s a lineup in waiting.
Because, let’s face it—QPR has been terrible so far this season. Robert Green ($3,000) is an ultra- contrarian play, but otherwise—I wouldn’t touch a defender, midfielder or attacker. Maybe Charlie Austin ($4,200) as a flex. And that’s a really big maybe. Like the hole in QPR’s defense so far this season.
Sunderland vs. Swansea City: This screams 1-1 or 2-1 to me; if anyone gets a clean sheet, it’s likely Swansea’s Lukasz Fabianski ($3,700) because of Sunderland’s less than dynamic attack. I wouldn’t touch Sunderland’s Vito Mannone ($4,700) due to his salary and other options. No one from either team stands out in defense; perhaps Patrick van Aanholt ($2,600) for Sunderland or Neil Taylor ($3,400) for the Swans.
Midfield is a much better hunting ground, especially for the visitors. Both Gylfi Sigurdsson ($7,200) and Nathan Dyer ($5,700) scored midweek for Swansea, and while they underperformed last week both are talented attackers. Some may overlook or go with other options because of last week, which could allow you to win cash or large-scale GPPs with the pair. Sunderland’s pair of Sebastian Larsson ($6,200) and Adam Johnson ($6,200) are alike, but their floor is much lower. The forwards for both sides have underachieved a great deal so far this season: Wilfried Bony ($6,000) and Connor Wickham ($4,700) are both lower to midlevel priced and contrarian options.
Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 12:30pm: Ah—the late start, the last game of the slate, the North London derby (definition time—derbies are games against regional and/or city rivals). The keepers should see a lot of action, but I cannot see a clean sheet for either team. Wojciech Szczesny ($4,100) and Hugo Lloris ($4,200) are fifth and fourth respectively salary wise when it comes to keepers this week, and I just can’t see paying for either when other options are available that are either cheaper or more likely to get win/clean sheet bonuses. If I had to choose one, I’d go with Szczesny.
When it comes to defenders, keep an eye on both teams’s starting lineups—and because it’s the last game of the day, your only available pivots will be others in this game. Spurs have the better options, with Danny Rose ($4,400) and Eric Dier ($3,500) both excellent cash game and GPP options. They should get their chances going forward—clean sheet bonuses be damned, but rack up those crosses and fouls drawn. Arsenal really don’t have similarly achieving options in defense, and for example I’d rather go Dier than the more expensive Kieran Gibbs ($3,700).
On the other hand, you have Arsenal’s midfield. All of Aaron Ramsey ($6.900), Mesut Ozil ($8,000), Jack Wilshire ($6,800) and Santi Cazorla ($4,700) are viable options if starting. Spurs counter with Nacer Chadli ($7,100), Erik Lamela ($7,300) and Christian Eriksen ($6,400). It’s a fertile hunting ground—if I had to choose one, it’d be Ramsey out of the bunch.
When it comes to forwards, it’s all Arsenal on the surface. You have to pay not top dollar, but close to it for both Alexis Sanchez ($8,400) and Danny Welbeck ($8.600)—but as last week showed, the investment pays off if the Gunners are proficient with their chances on goal. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ($3,800), if he starts, is an excellent low value, potentially high reward option. As for Tottenham, you seemingly just cannot invest in Emmanuel Adebayor ($7,700) when you look at other options around his price tag. He simply has done little so far this season. Until you remember Adebayor played for Arsenal. The breakup was not pretty. And he loves playing against them. Revenge game fans, here is your shining star this weekend.